The scent of wild garlic is unmistakable sign that spring is truly here and it’s time to don my rubber gloves to gather some tender nettle tops for a nourishing soup. Rich with iron, this deeply green tonic feels amazingly restorative after root and cabbage heavy winter meals. Foraging is a great way to take in some new microbes, but choose leaves that don’t enjoy too much attention from dogs, or give them a good rinse before you eat them.
1 leek (well washed)
750ml bone broth (meat stock or veg stock)
500g nettle tops (half a carrier bag full)
2 large handfuls of wild garlic leaves
200ml double cream
Sea salt, black pepper and grated nutmeg to season
Peel and slice the onion and leek. Put the butter into a large saucepan over a medium heat and when the butter has melted add the onion and leek and cook gently for about 15 minutes, until they smell sweet and are just starting to colour.
Peel and dice the potato, add this to the pan with the bone broth. Bring to the boil, put a lid on the pan, reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is soft.
Wash the nettle tops, discarding any tough stalks. Add the nettles to the pan and bring back to the boil. Simmer for another 5 or so minutes until the nettles are tender. Allow the soup to cool a little before you blend it.
Pour the soup into a blender with half of the wild garlic leaves, 150ml of double cream, a good squeeze of lemon juice, a few pinches of sea salt, a good grinding of black pepper and a little grated nutmeg. Whizz until velvety smooth and then check to see if it needs more lemon, salt, pepper or nutmeg. Thin with a little boiling water if it is too thick
To serve, heat the soup gently but don’t allow it to boil. Finely chop the remaining wild garlic leaves and use these to garnish the soup with a swirl of cream.
This recipe is not to be reproduced without prior permission. ©Naomi Devlin 2018